CBSE has opposed a PIL that demanded a uniform education system across the country up to Class 12.
The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has opposed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the Delhi High Court that demanded a uniform education system across the country up to Class 12. In its reply, the board told the court that since education is a subject in the Concurrent List of the Constitution, and the majority of schools being under the jurisdiction of the state governments, it is for the respective state/Union Territory governments to frame syllabus, curriculum and conduct examinations for their schools.
Advocating for introducing education in mother tongue at all levels, the board noted that the uniform board/syllabus across India does not take into account the local context, culture, and language.
Further emphasising on the importance of including local resources, culture, and ethos in the curriculum, the CBSE said that a child can better relate to a course that is more closely related to his/her life outside the school. Therefore, the multiplicity of curricula and other educational resources is desirable in addition to a core common element.
What does the petition say
Mr Upadhyay's, a practising lawyer and BJP leader, said while syllabus and curriculum are common for all entrance examinations, the syllabus and curriculum of the CBSE, Indian Certificate of Secondary Education and state boards are totally different. Thus, students do not get equal opportunity in the spirit of Articles 14-16 of the Constitution.
"It does not provide equal opportunity to all students as the syllabus-curriculum of CBSE, ICSE, and State Board is totally different. Although harmonious-purposive construction of Articles 14, 15, 16, 21, 21A with Articles 38, 39, 46 confirms that education is the most important fundamental right and the state cannot discriminate on the grounds of region, religion, race, caste, class or culture," Mr Upadhyay was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
"Even though this disparity cannot be fully removed, the government can establish a standardised entrance system for college and university aspirants. Standardisation of syllabus and curriculum means that everyone would have equal chances of getting into colleges and universities," the petitioner said.
"The right to education is a fundamental right. Therefore, it must be at the same level and similar standard, and not based on the child's socioeconomic conditions. The children have the right to avail free compulsory and common education irrespective of their social-economic religious and cultural background," said the plea.
How are textbooks set across the country
In line with the National Education Policy, the National Curriculum Framework (NCF) developed by the NCERT sets the guidelines and the two are responsible for developing curriculum, syllabi, textbooks, and other supplementary materials for schools across the country. The State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERTs) and State Education Boards either adopt or adapt NCERT's model syllabi and textbooks or develop their own syllabi and textbooks based on NCF, stated CBSE.
The CBSE said that the present writ petition seeking a uniform education system across the country is devoid of merits in the interest of justice.